Stop, look, listen to your heart and other body parts | Inquirer Business
Money Matters

Stop, look, listen to your heart and other body parts

Question: Do I need to get life insurance when all I end up with are additional bills to pay in the form of life insurance premiums? I do not see any tangible benefit to me.

Answer: I am blessed with a body that is frail. I inherited polycystic kidney disease or PKD from my father. He and his siblings had PKD and many of them passed away in their early 40s. You see, PKD can lead to other illnesses like liver cysts, mitral valve prolapse, hernia and aneurysm. My father himself died of a stroke after worrying too much about his illness. His PKD diagnosis came in late 1974 and he passed away in February of the following year.

But I had nothing to worry about because the belief at the time (when I was in my early 20s) was that PKD skips a generation before it rears its ugly head again. By the way, I also had asthma when I was a child, which I overcame when I became a young adult. I would swim and even join track and field events.


In my mid-20s, though, I became a kidney stone former. But every time an X-ray of my kidneys was taken, there were no signs of PKD. Both PKD and asthma were no kryptonite to this superman of a young individual. That overconfidence, however, would prove to be truly baseless just a few years later.


At the age of 30, having been married just three years and with a 1-year-old child, the first of many cysts in my kidneys showed up on an ultrasound I requested because of another suspected kidney stone. It was like my whole world crashed before me.

I contacted the company from which I purchased a life insurance policy and asked if I could increase my coverage even if I had PKD. Almost automatically, I was denied additional coverage, not just by the company but by all other life insurance companies as my case was already filed with the medical bureau and I was declared non-insurable.

I eventually got a very expensive but also highly successful kidney transplant operation in 2008. What was amazing was that it took me 18 years to delay the deterioration of my creatinine level from the normal 1 to a high of 7. I was admitted two days before my operation. The day before the operation, my brain seemingly relaxed, knowing that I would get a kidney transplant. As a result, my creatinine jumped from six to eight in just one day. And on the day of the operation, my creatinine was nine.

Fifteen years later, my ultrasound showed no results of kidney rejection and that my transplanted kidney was working just fine. I started 2023 feeling OK. Why, I even climbed a small hill near Baguio, but not without having to stop many times to catch my breath and feeling some chest pain. I just attributed my getting tired easily to my asthma acting up again. However, I noticed that I developed water retention (edema) in my feet and legs. So, I had myself checked. Long story short, my left anterior descending artery, also known as the widow maker, was 80 percent to 90 percent blocked, probably due to old age as I had lived a healthy lifestyle since my kidney transplant operation. I immediately needed to undergo expensive but minimally invasive angiogram and eventually angioplasty procedures, both ending up being successful.

The body and brain are parts of an amazing machine. Dr. Maxwell Maltz, author of Psycho-Cybernetics says, “Your brain and nervous system constitute a goal striving mechanism which operates automatically to achieve a certain goal, very much as a self-aiming torpedo or missile seeks out its target and steers its way to it.” Understanding how this wondrous machine works for you and for others makes for more success in health, relationships, business and more importantly the Faith.

But that amazing machine that is our body and brain will eventually succumb to the ravages of time.


Knowing our limitations, would it not be great to have a company on standby to help shore up any shortage in wealth we would like to leave behind to our loved ones should we be called early from this life? And is not acquiring life insurance akin to betting on a sure thing, which is our passing on to the next life?

In gambling, we bet our money away. In investing, we make bets based on careful study. But in life insurance, it is the life insurance company that bets that we will not leave this world early. Why? Because they need to make our small policy premiums grow to the huge payouts they promise through investing over long periods of time. And these companies are adequately capitalized and prudently reinsured to be able to make those benefit payouts should the unthinkable happen early.

More importantly, you buy life insurance not for you but as a gift for your loved ones. And like any other true gift-giving, what you get out of it is the joy that comes with the act of giving itself. INQ

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Send questions via “Ask a Friend, Ask Efren” free service at, SMS, Viber, Twitter, LinkedIn, WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook. Efren Ll. Cruz is a registered financial planner and director of RFP Philippines, seasoned investment adviser, author of best-selling personal finance books in the Philippines and a YAMAN Coach. To consult with a YAMAN Coach, email [email protected]. To learn more about personal financial planning, attend the 102nd RFP Program this June 2023. To inquire, e-mail [email protected] or text at 09176248110.

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